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Utah School-Age Population to Increase More Than 50%

September 10, 2002 — Utah’s school-age population (5 – 17 years-old) is expected to increase by 51.7 percent (264,894) by the year 2030, according to a study by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the David Eccles School of Business, The University of Utah. The title of the study is, “The Coming Boom in Utah’s School Age and College Age Populations: State and County Scenarios” by T. Ross Reeve, Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget, and Pamela S. Perlich, Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The study was released today.

The study looked at the projected growth of the school-age population by county, and found that, not surprisingly, Salt Lake and Utah Counties will account for nearly 60 percent of this growth. The county that will see the largest percentage growth increase is Washington County, which will more than double its school-age population by 2030, increasing by 130 percent (26,208).

“This study illustrates the demands that such population growth will have on the public resources at local and state levels,” said Jim Wood, Interim Director of BEBR. “Obviously, with such increases, the current school facilities in many counties will be quickly outgrown.”

In addition to school structure implications, the study looks at the ability of the tax base, or “employed worker” to support such growth. The study finds that the number of school-age children per employed worker “is projected to decrease in the short term, to increase until 2018, and then to decline for the duration of the projection period (2030).”

The study finds that the population boom of school-age children will mainly run its course by 2020, as children of the Utah 1980’s baby boom move out of the school-age group into the traditional college-age group. After that time, it is expected that growth will slow.

“Utah’s last baby boom peaked in the early 1980’s,” said Pam Perlich, Senior Research Economist BEBR. “It is the children of that last boom who are creating this new echo boom. Given a wide range of economic growth and fertility scenarios, the boom will still occur, only the magnitude differs.”

Other highly impacted counties in numbers include: Weber, Davis, Cache, Toole, Iron, Summit, Wasatch, and Box Elder. In addition to Washington County, other counties who will experience high percentage increase in this population include: Kane, Wayne, and Juab.

“This research is a very valuable tool for lawmakers and the public to understand not only that school-age population growth is coming, but also where it will occur,” said Jack Brittain, Dean of the David Eccles School of Business. “This kind of data can be used in resource planning throughout the state, and it can be referenced for tax projections.”

For more information, or to obtain a copy of the study, contact Jim Wood at 581-7165. To view a PDF file of the study, go to